Next entry after this one is gonna be the Neighborhood America profile. But today, I'm REALLY tired. Woke up at 2:00am and never went back to sleep. So I'm taking a break from my preparations for the certification series on social media and business that's being co-taught by me and Chris Carfi, the social customer guru who runs the (what else?) Social Customer blog, one of the most influential business-focused, way cool, 2.0 blogs in the industry. We're opening in San Francisco on March 27-28. If you're interested, go to the BPT Partner's website and sign up. This is a good time to do it. You can still get the discounts, and if I love you, I might be able to get you a great deal or even a free pass to the course.
But I have to love you.
Random Musings From a Set ofTired Synapses
Companies to Avoid Like the Plague - You're gonna know these companies because they're big and famous and gross. First, Creative Labs - the Soundblaster people. Why, because they truly suck at customer service. I have yet to run across a company that is either so grossly incompetent that is actually staggers the mind or just doesn't really care about customers. The short story: I have a problem with their wireless G55W 5.1 speakers, which just don't seem to configure correctly. I also have an X-Fi Gamers Edge card that came with my new system (I'm so mad, I'm not even gonna give them the benefit of a product link). I've been emailing with their tech support guys since the beginning of February. Why that long? It takes them 5-7 days to respond to EACH email. The last email indicated that I might be missing a cable. Normally, you would think that they would simply say "We'll provide you with a cable." That's all of $5.00 worth of effort for them - including the friggin' cable. Not them. Their response is the following, word for word:
Thank you for responding to Creative Customer Support. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you.
In response to your email, the Green, Black, and Orange cable should have been included with your Gigaworks 550W speakers. If you look on the package contents listed online (http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=4&subcategory=25&p
should be listed as the "Three mini stereo to dual RCA cables (for connecting to your Sound Blaster or other multi-channel audio card)."
One end of the cable should be the three Green, Black, and Orange 1/8"
minijack connections. The other end should have RCA connections. If this cable was not included with the package, you may need to check with the place that you purchased it from to verify that you didn't get an Open-Box item. If you didn't purchase the speaker system too long ago, you should be able to exchange it through them.
If you still require assistance, please reply to this email with any previous correspondence to ensure the quickest and most accurate service.
(PG: I REDACTED THE TECH'S NAME)
I kid you not. They won't even send the cable, saving me what is already a massive headache with a VERY expensive speaker set and card.
Avoid these fools at all costs.
I'm a premium A-list customer with them, spending a bloody fortune every month and the MLB package every summer. I needed some repair and a new install and they basically said, "hey, A-lister, thanks for your business. We TRULY appreciate it. We'll have someone out there in a MONTH to take care of the repair and install." Then when I spoke to the supervisor, he tried to convince me to be grateful it wasn't three months! He claimed they were adding people as fast as they can. Smart guy but I'm not convinced. As soon as I can figure out an option, I'm gonna take my A-list butt out of there.
A month. So glad they "value" my business - at zero it seems.
CRM for Google. Gag. - Etelos announced their "beta" of CRM for Google, a couple of days ago. I'd like to write a long review on the quality of the functionality and the features compared to other appropriate CRM applications/services on the market, but there isn't enough functionality to do that. After reviewing what Etelos had at their site, including a series of REALLY lame videos on the offering. What's astounding to me is that all this offers is contact management, calendar management and scheduling and some other PIM capabilities with a sprinkling of some sales "stuff" - hard to call them functions. They try to pass off a couple of email marketing features as CRM - and that's about it. I actually thought this might be one of those really funny spoofs from "The Onion" but it was real. This doesn't even qualify as a bad beta, nor does it fit the "throw it out there because we can get fast feedback in a web 2.0 world" sort of way. It simply stinks.
SAP Moving Back to Apps? Heard It On The Grapevine - In the midst of all the buzz around Oracle's purchase of Business Intelligence vendor, Hyperion for $3.3 billion - the same Hyperion that runs a lot on top of SAP applications, and in fact has 55% of its financial base with SAP applications, AMR's Bruce Richardson made this curious statement in his First Thing Monday column this past...Sunday (really):
"In recent days, I have been hearing that SAP is moving away from stressing its position as a platform vendor and moving back to emphasizing its strength as the applications leader. Indeed, SAP issued a statement yesterday saying that "the Hyperion deal is one more way that Oracle attempts to hide the fact that applications is not its core business, whereas applications has been, and will continue to be, SAP's core business."
Last week, John Hagerty wrote about SAP's purchase of Pilot Software, an early pioneer in executive information systems and maker of PilotWorks, a strategy management and execution monitoring suite. He wrote that SAP "is starting to get aggressive in filling gaps in its vision."
I haven't heard that anywhere else, but if last week's CRM conference is a marker, I didn't really get the more democratic "we're a platform that can work with anything" vibe from the event. It was more "we're SAP and we've got a smokin' hybrid model." So maybe he's right. It bears investigation. It would be good news for salesforce.com and bad news for Oracle if that's the case.
Finally, The Onion for Real - You ever read The Onion? If not, you should. Its a newspaper (print) and online presence that pretty well mocks everything with fake and sometimes prescient headlines (they had a mocking article on a 5-blade razor and voila, the Gillette Fusion comes out a few months later. Even sadder, I actually use it.). TechCrunch, on Tuesday, reported that The Onion had a article on announcement by Steve Jobs of the "iLaunch" , a product that will revolutionize launching products. A riot. Check it out at The Onion. Even better, The Onion did an article back in August 2005 that reported on the release of "Google Purge" a product that will destroy everything Google can't index. Although maybe that was the Wall St. Journal....? Nah.
They are just so cool.
I'm tired. Bye.